There are 4 ways to get from Darwin to Cairns by plane, bus, train or car

Select an option below to see step-by-step directions and to compare ticket prices and travel times in Rome2rio's travel planner.

Recommended option

Fly  •  5 h 20 min

  1. Fly from Darwin (DRW) to Cairns (CNS) DRW - CNS

$150 - $464

3 alternative options

Bus  •  40 h 30 min

  1. Take the bus from Darwin to Tennant Creek
  2. Take the bus from Tennant Creek to Townsville
  3. Take the bus from Townsville to Cairns

$243 - $510

Train, bus  •  2 days 18 h

  1. Take the train from Darwin to Alice Springs
  2. Take the bus from Alice Springs to Julia Creek
  3. Take the train from Juila Creek station to Townsville station
  4. Take the train from Townsville to Cairns Central Station

$593 - $1,138

Drive  •  28 h 44 min

  1. Drive from Darwin to Cairns 1730.5 miles

$240 - $360

Questions & Answers

The cheapest way to get from Darwin to Cairns is to fly which costs $200 - $650 and takes 5 h 20 min.

More details

The quickest way to get from Darwin to Cairns is to fly which costs $200 - $650 and takes 5 h 20 min.

More details

The distance between Darwin and Cairns is 1679 km. The road distance is 2768.8 km.

Get driving directions

It takes approximately 5 h 20 min to get from Darwin to Cairns, including transfers.

More details

No, there is no direct bus from Darwin to Cairns. However, there are services departing from Darwin and arriving at Cairns via Tennant Creek and Townsville. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 40 h 30 min.

More details

What companies run services between Darwin, NT, Australia and Cairns, QLD, Australia?

Qantas, Jetstar and Airnorth fly from Darwin to Cairns 3 times a day. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Darwin to Cairns via Tennant Creek and Townsville in around 40 h 30 min.

Airlines
Qantas
Website
qantas.com
Flights from Darwin to Cairns
Ave. Duration
2 h 30 min
When
Every day
Estimated price
$170 - $950
Flights from Darwin to Cairns via Gove
Ave. Duration
3 h 45 min
When
Every day
Estimated price
$160 - $650
Flights from Darwin to Cairns via Townsville
Ave. Duration
4 h 52 min
When
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
Estimated price
$160 - $650
Jetstar
Website
jetstar.com
Flights from Darwin to Cairns
Ave. Duration
2 h 30 min
When
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
Estimated price
$130 - $1,100
Airnorth
Website
flyairnorth.com
Flights from Darwin to Cairns via Gove
Ave. Duration
3 h 45 min
When
Every day
Estimated price
$160 - $650
Train operators
Great Southern Rail - The Ghan
Website
greatsouthernrail.com.au
Train from Darwin to Alice Springs
Ave. Duration
23 h 30 min
Frequency
Once a week
Estimated price
$320 - $700
Schedules at
greatsouthernrail.com.au
Everyday Daynighter Seat
$327
Advanced Gold Single Cabin
$602
Low Gold Single Cabin
$664
Everyday Gold Single Cabin
$786
Queensland Rail Travel
Phone
1300 131 722
Email
reservations@qr.com.au
Website
queenslandrailtravel.com.au
Train from Juila Creek station to Townsville station
Ave. Duration
13 h 15 min
Frequency
Twice a week
Estimated price
$80 - $120
Schedules at
queenslandrailtravel.com.au
Train from Townsville to Cairns Central Station
Ave. Duration
6 h 42 min
Frequency
5 times a week
Estimated price
$45 - $65
Schedules at
queenslandrailtravel.com.au
Bus operators
Greyhound Australia
Phone
1300 473946
Website
greyhound.com.au
Bus from Darwin to Tennant Creek
Ave. Duration
14 h 10 min
Frequency
Twice daily
Estimated price
$80 - $140
Schedules at
Greyhound.com.au
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$80 - $120
Flexifare
$100 - $140
Bus from Tennant Creek to Townsville
Ave. Duration
19 h 5 min
Frequency
4 times a week
Estimated price
$130 - $220
Schedules at
Greyhound.com.au
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$130 - $190
Flexifare
$150 - $220
Bus from Townsville to Cairns
Ave. Duration
5 h 15 min
Frequency
3 times a day
Estimated price
$29 - $150
Schedules at
Greyhound.com.au
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$29 - $45
Flexifare
$40 - $55
Bus from Alice Springs to Julia Creek
Ave. Duration
17 h 40 min
Frequency
4 times a week
Estimated price
$120 - $220
Schedules at
Greyhound.com.au
Book at
Greyhound.com.au
Saver
$120 - $170
Flexifare
$140 - $200

Want to know more about travelling around Australia

Rome2rio's Travel Guide series provide vital information for the global traveller. Filled with useful and timely travel information, the guides answer all the hard questions - such as 'How do I buy a ticket?', 'Should I book online before I travel? ', 'How much should I expect to pay?', 'Do the trains and buses have Wifi?' - to help you get the most out of your next trip.

Where to next?